Ask Well: How Much Sugar is actually in a Glass of Wine?


Tony Cenicola/The brand new York Times

Q. Some wineries add sugar to dry red wines after fermentation to ensure in which they taste “smoother” to the American palate. How can I find out how much sugar is actually in what I am drinking?

A. To find out how much sugar might have been added to a given wine, your best bet may be to contact the producer directly.

Winemakers employ a range of techniques to achieve desired properties as well as also also flavor profiles. The addition of sulfites, used as a preservative, must be listed on the label in order to notify individuals who might be allergic, yet more than 60 different additives can legally be used without being disclosed. With regard to sugar, regulations vary by state. In California, for instance, added sugar is actually not allowed at any point within the winemaking process. There, winemakers may rely on unfermented grape juice to tweak the sweetness.

“Wine is actually by nature somewhat acidic, as well as also also adjustments can help to balance the elements of sweet as well as also also sour,” Nancy Light, vice president of communications for Wine Institute, the main advocacy association for the California wine industry, said in an email.Winemakers are permitted by government regulations to make sweetness adjustments after fermentation to achieve desired wine styles.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a a few-ounce glass of red table wine typically contains about 0.9 grams of total sugar, while a glass of chardonnay contains about 1.4 grams. A sweet dessert wine, typically served in a smaller two- to three-ounce glass, contains as much as 7 grams of sugar. Depending on where the wine was made, the total may include added sugar or sugar by unfermented grape juice, along with the sugar in which occurs naturally within the grapes.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting added sugar intake to no more than 10 percent of daily calories, which is actually about 12 teaspoons, or 50 grams. The American Heart Association recommends limiting intake even further: no more than six teaspoons (about 25 grams, or 100 calories) per day for women, as well as also also no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams, 150 calories) per day for men.

Along with adding sugar for the purpose of sweetening wine, some producers add sugar before or during fermentation in order to achieve a certain alcohol level. in which process is actually called chaptalization, as well as also also in which is actually more common in cooler wine regions such as Oregon, where grapes ripen more slowly. Alcoholic fermentation occurs when yeast metabolizes a source of sugar (glucose, sucrose or fructose), turning in which into ethanol (alcohol) as well as also also carbon dioxide. In beer, the sugar comes by the starch in malted cereal grain, typically barley. In wine, in which comes by grape juice. Grapes in which are riper have higher sugar levels, although if available grapes are not as ripe, a winemaker may add sugar to aid in fermentation as well as also also achieve the desired amount of alcohol.

According to Tom Hogue, a spokesman for the Alcohol as well as also also Tobacco Tax as well as also also Trade Bureau, wine producers may provide nutritional details about their products on a voluntary basis, so long as they adhere to regulations by the bureau. So, while winemakers are not required to disclose nutritional information on the label, for those who choose to do so — whether for sugar or some other ingredients — guidelines apply.

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Ask Well: How Much Sugar is actually in a Glass of Wine?

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